Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the buzz phrases on the internet. There’s so much information out there about SEO, but it’s not all useful advice. In fact, you might find the same advice over and over again, with most of it revolving around how to write SEO articles and site content. It’s good to know about SEO writing, but that’s not all there is to it!
The Purpose of SEO
The entire point of SEO is to help people find you through search engines. Doing it well can mean ranking highly on Google, Bing, and other search engines while doing it poorly means ranking lower. High rankings on search engines are the heart and soul of SEO. If your actions are not affecting your search engine rankings, you may not be doing the right things.
SEO Is Not Just Writing
One of the biggest downfalls of websites today is the strong focus on only a few specific SEO practices. The main focus is put on keywords and SEO writing. These are important pieces of SEO, but they are only a portion of a larger, more complex topic. SEO writing can help you rank. However, you need to do a lot more than just that to give yourself the best chances!
One of the strongest SEO strategies is to build up a collection of backlinks from high-quality, authority sites. Inbound links to your content give your site the appearance of popularity, authority, and usefulness. The trick here is that backlinks are better when they come from a more credible source. Backlinks from sites that lack credibility or from other sites registered to your name will usually not have a positive effect on your site’s SEO.
#2: Meta Description
When a search result is shown on Google, there is a short text snippet about what’s on supposed to be on that page. You can fill this in yourself with a short content description, or you can let Google automatically take a short snippet for you. Filling it in yourself can be a great way to bring more visitors to your page by giving a more accurate description of what’s contained within the page. If you’re posting media content of any type, such as infographics or podcasts, a meta description may be the best way to let people know what they’ll find on your site.
#3: Internal Linking
While you don’t need to link to yourself constantly, it can be helpful to place at least one or two internal links within your own content. This does two things. First, it helps people to navigate around your site to other pages that might be relevant for them. Second, it helps Google and other search engines to know your older pages are still relevant. Both of these benefits are worth it for the short time it takes to create a few internal links within your own content.
#4: Social Sharing
Social shares do not directly impact your ranking. But, they often have a strong indirect impact on your SEO by helping you build an audience that may transfer to your website and by giving more linking potential. These indirect benefits often lead to improved SEO if you have a good social media marketing strategy.
#5: Site Structure & User Experience
Google revolutionized their search feature when they amended the algorithm to include usability measures. Poorly constructed sites that are difficult to navigate and not user-friendly will not be able to rank as highly well efficient, user-friendly sites. This can make a significant impact on your search engine rankings.
Search engines need to be able to index your site in order to understand it better and present it as a result of people typing certain queries. There are specific things you can do to improve a search engine’s ability to index your site, but we won’t be going into the details here.
Crawling is what it’s called when automated search engine tools go through your web pages. It’s good for your website to be easily crawlable, so that the search engines can get the information they need and rank you properly. To make your site more crawlable, there should be shorter load times for pages, a regulated number of links per page, and easy accessibility to all or most pages on your site.
#8: URL Readability
Although it won’t make or break your site, URL readability can affect your click-through rate and will help you avoid looking like spam. Links that use keywords descriptively and that clearly shows where they’re taking the user are better for display than complex links. Search engines display the links on the search results, so it’s best to avoid looking like a spam site whenever possible.
#9: XML Sitemaps
You can help get your site ranked more quickly if you let the search engine webmaster know as soon as updates are made. XML sitemaps help to ping the webmaster as soon as you make any changes, including new posts or updates to existing posts.
#10: HTML Formatting
SEO is more complex than simply throwing a few good keywords into your online content. If you want to rank well and get more organic traffic from search engines, you need to pay attention to a larger variety of factors, not just how you’re writing. These 10 elements are all part of a good SEO marketing mix so you may want to look into learning as much as possible about each one!